The vessel carrying was carrying about 200 people, according to the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) statement. It added that, “according to media sources, the Senegalese and Spanish navies, and fishermen who were nearby rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others.”
According to the IOM, the boat was bound for Spain’s Canary Islands but caught fire a few hours after departing Mbour, a coastal town in western Senegal, before capsizing near Saint-Louis, on the country’s northwest coast.
“The IOM is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the Central Mediterranean last week and another in the English Channel,” the statement said. The number of migrant boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands has “significantly increased” in recent weeks, it continued.
“We call for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth,” IOM Senegal Chief of Mission Bakary Doumbia said in the statement.